Neuro-Oncology Program

Radiology/Imaging Methods


In Neuro-Oncology, imaging is a fundamental component of patient care. It is often essential in initial diagnosis, monitoring of treatment, and surveillance following therapy. At St. Joseph Hospital, we understand that regions as complex as the brain and spine require equally complex imaging. That is why we have developed a state-of-the-art imaging department with leading-edge technology and an array of sub-specialized radiologists. Whether it is CT, MRI, MR spectroscopy, or PET/CT, your neuro-imaging team is dedicated to excellence. At St. Joseph Hospital, world class care begins with a world class team.

Technologies available at St. Joseph Hospital include:

CT Scan

CT (CAT) scan is a noninvasive medical test. CT imaging combines special x-ray equipment with sophisticated computers to produce multiple images of the inside of the body. These cross-sectional images can then be examined on a computer monitor. CT scans of internal organs, bone, soft tissue and blood vessels provide much greater clarity and reveal more details than regular x-ray exams. Intravenous injection of a special iodine-based dye reveals more information about the tissues, even permitting non-invasive road-maps of the blood vessels, "CT angiograms". This dye may not be safely given in some patients with kidney disease. Also some patients may be allergic to the iodine in the dye. If you have a history of allergic reaction from a previous dye injection, you should check with your doctor prior to the exam.


The MRI examination poses almost no risk to the average patient when appropriate safety guidelines are followed. Although the strong magnetic field is not harmful in itself, medical devices that contain metal may malfunction or cause problems during an MRI exam. There is a very slight risk of an allergic reaction if contrast material is injected. Such reactions usually are mild and easily controlled by medication.

MR Spectroscopy

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radiofrequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone, and virtually all other internal body structures. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays). Detailed MRI images allow physicians to better evaluate parts of the body (such as the brain and spine) and certain diseases that may not be assessed adequately with other imaging methods such as x-ray, ultrasound or computed tomography (also called CT or CAT scanning).

Performed in the MRI scanner, MR spectroscopy utilizes the principles of magnetic resonance to detect specific molecules in tissue. Primarily used in brain imaging, MR spectroscopy can provide additional information about brain abnormalities to help differentiate between diseases.

PET Scan

Positron emission tomography (PET) scan is one of the newest imaging technologies and allows molecular or metabolic imaging. Most often, it is used in cancer to evaluate for spread or recurrence of disease and ensure that the most appropriate form of treatment is selected. A PET scan may be combined with computed tomography (CT) and even magnetic resonance (MRI) to provide an anatomical and functional view of the disease. By exploiting unique features of cancer such as elevated sugar metabolism, doctors can better differentiate between healthy and cancerous cells, even when the cancer is too small to detect by conventional imaging.